Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What is your INTENT?

While working feverishly on a number of new works, my mind drifted to the topics I have written on or read in the past few days. In one email written to another artist, I mentioned I am not sure I would even want to be in the art world “upper echelon”. Those who have risen to art stardom get the privileges and goodies many artists will never experience. However, standing on that narrow pedestal brings other scary and daunting expectations and responsibilities. If those requirements aren’t met, the possibility of falling back to the realm of anonymity is very likely.
Thinking about being a successful artist makes me think about the saying “Money can’t buy happiness”. I do not equate art success with art celebrity or finances. However, I believe much of our society does. I surprised myself a couple of years ago while at an art opening watching James Rosenquist shake hands and share small talk with gallery patrons. I made my way up to him, listened to his banter and watched him chat. I introduced myself, spoke to him for a few minutes, and walked away. As I moved on, I was thinking “He seems so grumpy and bitter!” I guess in the back of my mind, I was naively thinking “He is a famous artist. He has it ALL! He should be so happy!” Well, he didn’t seem very joyous or satisfied. He seemed like an old grouch.
So lately I am asking myself “What is your intent?” Why do I keep spending all this time, money, and energy on making art? It sure isn’t for the fame and fortune. Those factors have eluded me so far. I guess I do it because I have had the gut feeling all my life that this is what I am suppose to do. It gives my life meaning. It gives me a reason to get up each morning. I have faith that this is my purpose. Another very important reason came to me yesterday while I was working. I had been sitting there painting for so many hours I was stiff. I kept thinking “You need to get up and walk around to stretch out!” Yet, I didn’t want to stop. I kept nudging myself away from the canvas to take a break, only to pick up a bit more paint to touch up this or that. After playing a mental tug of war, I stood up and back. I looked at the painting and thought “God! I love this feeling of being so focused and driven. I just love doing this!” I really do have faith I am suppose to do this work. So it may not be so glamourous, deep, or intellectual, but that is my intent.

"Found Faith"
Click to see detail


Mad William said...

I can't begin to tell you how many artists I have worked with over the years that have made it to the Major Leagues of art, that are the most miserable people in the world.

I think so many of them get caught up in making money and marketing the personality, that they loose sight of why they wanted to be an artist to begin with.

Or maybe I have been hanging around the wrong crowd.

Sheree Rensel said...

I totally understand this William. I have never been in the "big leagues", but I have had more success than many artists. When I was known in a particular region and had my work in galleries, I felt pressure to make a certain kind of art. I had clients ask me to make certain things (just like this or that) and then give me a laundry list attributes to be contained in the new work. In other words, they weren't my ideas or an expression of my creativity. It was as if I was the worker in "made to order" art factory.
I guess this post is reminding myself why I do what I do, how I got to this place, and what I want to happen next.

Lisa said...

Sheree - after reading a few of your posts I can see you were quite right in your comment on my blog a few weeks back. We seem to be struggling with the same issues. Which are undoubtedly fairly universal for artists.

I'm looking forward to reading how your journey unfolds.

Sheree Rensel said...

Lisa, I think you are absolutely correct! These issues are very universal for the majority of artists. The fact that you mentioned this is very synchronicitous to something I thought about just today. While writing this "Intent" post, I was also thinking about the intent of this blog. As you know, it takes time to write all this stuff. Therefore, I want it to be relevant. When I go to other blogs, I often notice technical information (boring), the day to day routine of artists (more boring), or art criticism (distasteful). I have been trying to find my voice and the purpose of this blog. I realized I have to do the same thing as I do when I make art. Write what I know. So I am going to write about the way I feel about being an artist and my experiences of just trying to keep this art train moving.
Thanks for reading my blog!!

Lisa Hunter said...

THis "Found Faith" piece is wonderful. Are the crosses and medallions found objects? Brilliant.

Sheree Rensel said...

Found objects? Ahhh....yes! Those were the left overs from my religious memoribilia collection. If you look closely on the mid right area of this pic, you will see "Found Faith" hanging amongst all kinds of collected stuff. I have that piece hanging next to my bed. When I open my eyes each morning, that is the first thing I see. I love it!!!! Thanks for commenting. Go here to see what I am talking about: